Lidl granted permission for new €1 million solar array

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

July 9th, 2019

Lidl Ireland has welcomed the granting of planning permission from Kildare County Council that will allow the supermarket chain to install solar panels on its distribution center in Newbridge.

The company has said that the energy-saving initiative will see an investment of €1 million at the site that is currently under construction.

The solar panels would improve the energy-efficiency of Lidl’s new 58,000 metres distribution centre in Co Kildare, producing an estimated 1,011,929-kilowatt hour of sustainable energy.

The sustainable scheme would reduce the centre’s carbon output by around 473 tonnes annually, according to Lidl. 

Alan Barry, Lidl’s Director of Property and Central Services, said that the company “prides itself” as eco-friendly and building a new distribution centre was an opportunity to implement Lidl’s eco-conscious ethos in its construction.

“We were very clear when building our largest distribution centre that we would integrate the latest sustainability innovations that will generate ongoing energy savings,” Mr Barry said.

“The installation of solar panels at our distribution facility in Newbridge will generate over 25% of the buildings energy requirements,” he added.

Mr Barry continued that the new facility will have “a wide range of sustainability features”, including charging points for electric vehicles, LED lighting, natural refrigerants as well as “beehives, bat boxes and insect hotels” to promote pollination and preserve biodiversity.

The supermarket chain has said that the construction of its largest distribution centre is in line with “the highest environmental standards” and would be certified to BREEM, the world’s leading sustainable building certification.

Welcoming Lidl’s new energy-saving scheme, Dr Paul Deane of the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy at UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) said that other companies should kickstart similar projects to increase the country’s level of energy efficacy.

“We need of more of this leadership in Ireland,” he said. “It is great to see a company take this perspective and initiative, not only with efforts to reduce carbon emission but also plans to increase biodiversity and promote natural woodland.”

Shane McDonagh, a PhD researcher in biofuels at ERI also told The Green News that a “significant number of these kinds of projects are required if we want the economy to grow, without giving up on our climate targets”.

“This is not just a boost to Lidl’s green credentials, reduced energy bills make them more competitive,” he said. “Other companies will see through the PR and find there is a robust business case for these kinds of investments.”

Earlier in April, the supermarket chain also rolled out new in-store recycling bins for its customers to dispose of their excess plastic waste, but environmental campaigners later criticised the green initiative over its lack of compliance with State-issued recycling guidelines.

Responding to the disapproval, the company stated to The Green News that “clear guidance on what items can be recycled will be displayed” on its recycling stations to avert confusion.

“The supermarket has also increased its loose fruit and vegetable range and continues to “test and trial the removal of packaging throughout the range”, the statement read.

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.